We don’t believe there is a more insidious disease than Alzheimer’s.
Some diseases kill, and others take away a person’s ability to do the little things, perhaps handle a television remote, flip a hamburger or tie a shoe.
But Alzheimer’s takes away a person’s identity — and with it, that person’s dignity.
In the United States right now, there are an estimated 5.2 million people who suffer with Alzheimer’s, and their ranks are growing every day. Medicine can delay some of the effects of this debilitating disease, and even offer the mixed blessing of extending the life of someone who is suffering with it, but there is no cure.
Odds are you know someone who suffers with the disease, hopefully not a family member. If are lucky enough not to be intimate with the disease, here is a snapshot: Alzheimer’s first reveals itself by slowing chipping away at a person’s memory, robbing them of the ability to remember the simple things, a friend’s name or the route to church. It accelerates from there, stripping them of their ability to perform basic tasks, and eventually wiping away the victim’s personality and reprogramming their behavior.
Here are a few facts courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association:
— Alzheimer’s is now No. 6 on the list of killers in this country, taking the lives of 25,000 Americans a year — a number that is growing.
— One in three seniors dies of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
— During 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided more than 16.5 billion hours of unpaid care for Alzheimer’s patients.
— Alzheimer’s cost this country an estimated $203 billion during 2012, a number that is expected to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2050.
So what can you do? Sadly, not much.
But since every little bit helps, Saturday offers a local opportunity to fight back against this dreaded disease.
Alzheimer’s NC will host the 2013 Robeson County Alzheimer’s Walk for Memory at Luther Britt Park on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Registration is free, but people who walk are encouraged to donate at least $25. Proceeds from the walk will fund educational services for people with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and caregivers, local support groups — and research for a cure
There will also be some fun stuff, such as entertainment, door prizes and refreshments.
For information or to register, call Kim Branch at 910-827-9530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants can also call Amy Hammond at 910-874-2790 or email email@example.com.